My ZAAZ Experience–A New Level Of ZAAZing

So–Where am I?

When I started this fitness program and began using the ZAAZ, this is where I was:

Wgt.–208

Waist–43

Hips–52

Bust–44

Left Thigh–24

Right thigh–26

Cellilite–Large Curd Cottage Cheese (the worst)

Fluid retention–moderate.

After 2 months on a 1000 calorie diet doing OnLY the ZAAZ 4 times a day and using resistance bands, I had lost : 21.5 pounds, 2.5 inches off waist, 3 inches off hips, 1.5 inches off bust, 2 inches off right thigh, and 1 inch off left thigh. And the cellulite is down to lemon skin LOL. In addition to the vast improvement in the appearance of my cellulite, my skin SEEMS to be more supple, and friends have remarked that my new skin care regimen seems to work, as I “glow” now.

While I did change my overall skin care regimen, nothing I did would have been expected to produce a “glow”.

Circulation wise, I was able to move down to a lower level of compression socks, and my feet are never cold anymore.  I have also noted that the baker’s cyst in the left knee is greatly reduced, and I rarely get fluid buildup in that knee anymore.

Then I Added Chuze Fitness To My Fitness Regimen…

I chose Chuze as they had opened a new one right next to my grocery store and they offer an extremely valuable premium membership program. For 20.00/month you get sauna, steam rooms, tanning, hydro massage, and all the workout equipment you could want want, along with your choice of some very good classes–no limits. At any Chuze in town. They also offer a reward app that allows you to earn points for free merchandise and has special contests also.

I discovered that while I have ZERO stamina–I could barely manage 10 minutes on a recumbent bike trying for my target heart rate– I was able to go through a variety of different exercise devices, from using the Pilates balls and rollers to the circuit equipment. I ZAAZ as soon as I get home from the gym and before I drink my protein shake. When I started, I wouldn’t last an hour, and all the machines I used were set for minimum weight–typically around 15 pounds. The exception was the leg press, set at 50 pounds.

Where I Am, Now At Chuze…

I am now working out an hour or so twice a day when time allows–once when I wake up and once a few hours before bed (whatever time that may be). The LOWEST weight I use on any circuit machine is 30 pounds, and on most I am at 50. I can now press 150 pounds on the leg press. I sauna and steam, and occasionally use the hydro massage, but I ALWAYS ZAAZ as soon as I get home and before eating.

My weight loss is currently at a plateau–STILL *sigh*. But as I am losing inches, I am happy. My current weigh is 178, and I have lost between 1 and 2.25 inches off eacj body part in the time I have been going to Chuze–an experience I will document separately.

My New Yoga Workout…..

So I went out on You Tube, and found all kinds of ZAAZ videos, including a super good Yoga workout that incorporates my ZAAZ. While I am still not quite flexible enough to hold some of the positions comfortably,  the program has helped increase my range of motion more–a good thing given the recent level of activity I have been experiencing due to business issues (another story altogether).

I also have developed my own pattern of positions that suits me well, and I go through them while listening to toning bowls and ZAAZing. This video is only one of literally thousands, and I highly recommend going through them on You Tube–I just used ZAAZ exercises as a search term to get me started–and trying some out. My new regimen is:

  1. Get up, go to gym.
  2. Come home, ZAAZ, shake and breakfast.
  3.  “fidgetcize” while writing (fidgetcizing will be explained later)
  4. Mid morning stretches with resistance bands while ZAAZing, and snack
  5. Repeat #3.
  6. Lunch
  7. Do any housework/errands.
  8. Repeat step 4
  9. Dinner
  10. Relax and me time surfing, playing games, watching NCIS back episodes
  11. Repeat #3
  12. Gym, then protein shake and ZAAZ
  13. Bath
  14. Bed

So, altogether a moderately busy day with plenty of flexibility in it for other things. Whether I lose weight or not isn’t a major concern, as I am more interested in getting in better shape, having more strength and stamina. But as I add more activity or increase my activity level by making the activities more intensive, I expect I will begin losing again.

P.S.–bought some new dresses :-).

 

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ZAAZ–Week 2

Well, this week was interrupted by my state convention, and a major celebration after Indiana. So that amounted to 2 days when I kept as accurate a calorie count as possible, but didn’t stick to the 1000 a day calorie limit. It also meant one day away from my ZAAZ, in a hotel in Mesa.

Even so, I lost another 2 pounds, and comparing my Intake and Output, it was about 50/50 between water weight and actual weight, something I found interesting. My pain level is remaining right around a 2, which is a dramatic improvement from my typical “good” day of a 4 or 5 in the past. I also noted that I am still feeling that stiffness as though I have worked out every morning, but still none of the pain that typically is associated with a workout.

The Diet–

For those who may have researched and written about every weight loss hack, trick and diet in the known universe, but who want to be healthy and either maintain a healthy weight or lose weight, I have this to say:

The American Diabetic Association Diet. This is, hands down, the best diet there is for anyone. I am following their recommendations quite closely, eating a high protein, low fat, low carbohydrate (and my carbs are all low to moderate on the glycemic index) diet.

Step 1: Figure Out Your Protein.

The average person needs about 36% of their diet to be protein daily–on a modified high protein diet, you want to aim for a minimum of 50%, a max of 65% or so. The 50% is the easiest to figure out of course–divide your weight by 2, and call it grams. So a 200 pound person would need 100 grams of protein–a little over 3 ounces of “pure” protein.

I can tell you from experience that if you are on extreme calorie restriction, as I am, the single best source is protein powders. The best of these is made by Body Fortress, that I have found. Just be sure you only buy the whey protein or the isolate, NOT a bulking product, unless you’re trying to gain weight of course. I typically use the vanilla, as it mixes well with any flavor of fruit, OR with my Ovaltine. One shake made with Ovaltine, skim milk and the protein powder, with an 1/8th of a cantaloupe, is 350 calories, and provides a little over 40 grams of protein.

2 of those a day, plus one of my totally amazing under 200 calorie salads and two snacks is 1000 calories or less, and all the vitamins, minerals and protein you need.

Step 2: Get Familiar With The Glycemic Index.

All foods have energy, and most have some carbohydrates in them–but there are different types of “carbs”. How fast a carbohydrate is converted to sugars in the body determines where it falls on the Glycemic Index. Obviously, “sugar” would be a high glycemic food–because it’s sugar. So really quick energy, but can cause your blood sugar levels to spike. Ideally, you want to substitute high glycemic index foods with low ones for a few reasons–first, that limits sugar crashes and spikes, which can really be noticeable when you’re on a restricted diet, and second, most of the low to moderate glycemic foods actually make you feel full longer, and take more energy to digest.

The link above is a good source for checking out how the Index fits into the normal diet. This Link takes you directly to the database. The quickest way to find something is to just fill in the “value” box–greater than or equal to the number 55, for instance, will generate over 100 pages of higher glycemic food. You can then order the list as you choose. This is far faster than going by a food’s name.

BTW–Cross Kellogg’s Corn Flakes right off the list–a 30 gram (one ounce, about 1 cup) serving with milk scales at 132 on the 1-100 scale lol. A slice of white bread or a serving of potato is 100, typically. Also, the less cooked veggies are, the better–steaming or boiling veggies begins to convert some of the starches in them to simple sugars. So stick with very light steaming, juicing raw, or eating raw. Gatorade is a no-no, also.

One of the easiest things to do when you’re first starting out transitioning to a low glycemic diet is the simple substitution method–substitute a serving of jasmine rice (78) for a serving of potato (100). Substitute baked spiced apples for chocolate cake, or any home made fruit cobbler for bakery pies.

Quick Tips:

  1. Don’t tell the hubby or kids. Trust me on this one, people. This also applies to replacing the fatty mayo and salad dressings with the fat free variety–pour the new stuff in the old bottle, and throw away the new bottle. It’s amazing how the same meal they said was amazing and fantastic becomes horrible when they find out it’s “diet food”….
  2. DO involve the whole family. I know from experience well before this, while writing the endless newsletter series on losing belly fat fast, that dieting alone is nearly impossible. The only thing tougher is keeping Torah Kosher in a house full of Gentiles. It gets a little depressing when everyone else is eating bacon…. Involve them by just introducing the new foods, no explanation. The less they know, the better LOL.
  3. GET A SCALE AND PRACTICE FULL PORTION CONTROL. If you’re like the average person, you’re eating double portions or larger to begin with, and this is the number one reason people get fat. You should do this with your current diet for about a month, to get used to eating “normal portions”, and during that month begin phasing in changes.

Results This Week:

As mentioned above, another 2 pounds lost, 1/2 of it attributable to water weight as close as I can measure. My energy level has improved quite dramatically this week. While I had to wear my TENS unit all day at the convention, I only had to USE it 3 times–where in the past, it would have been in use almost constantly. I also noted that I didn’t have nearly the problem with restless legs on the drive up as I would have in the past–though the drive home was on the tough side. It should be noted the very first thing I did when I got home was jump on the ZAAZ  LOL.

My skin is continuing to improve, and I am still shedding far more dead skin cells when I exfoliate than before. The “crocodile skin” on  my feet is significantly improved, as are, for some odd reason, the crocodile patches on my elbows. The cellulite has become even less noticeable–I’d say the visible improvement is now over 50%, and even my lovable (but very unobservant) other half commented on how “smooth” my skin is getting. It is ALWAYS “soft” as I am obsessive about moisturizing and exfoliation, but prior to this it felt “lumpy” to the touch on my thighs, buttocks, belly and to a lesser extent my upper arms.

I can feel the difference as well when I moisturize, and I am now only wearing my compression socks, with no other socks over them–yet my feet are WARM, and at times, they even get sweaty. After literally decades of freezing feet, this is really nice.

My range of motion continues to improve, especially when I stretch to the sides and isolate the vibration in my lateral oblique muscles, or do squats. I am fairly confident at this point that if my belly wasn’t getting in the way, I could likely get into a Lotus position, or close to it, with minimal discomfort. I am also finding that I can do more repetitions of my basic stretching exercises and leg lifts, and my crunches, than I could last week.

All in all, it has been a very good week, and I look forward to seeing what my weight situation will be like after an entire week on my diet. I will be posting some of my favorite salad choices and other little snacks in the next few days.

ZAAZ Results, Week 1

For the first week, I deliberately didn’t alter my food intake, though I did keep a food diary and count calories. I found that my estimates of my caloric intake (around 1200 a day or so) were accurate. When I went to see my GP, he pointed out a couple of interesting things:

  1. The “2000 calorie” recommendation, upon which all our vitamins and mineral requirements are based, derives originally from studies done by the U.S. Government on navy members during the 1970’s–not exactly a long term “representative study” that a benchmark should be, as navy seamen don’t have the same activity levels as civilians, even when averaged out.
  2. Civilians at the time, no matter what their occupations, got at least three times as much physical activity i the average day than we do now, and microwave meals and pre-packaged meals weren’t the norm either.

So, the “recommended daily allowance” isn’t necessarily applicable any more. And given that the almost 2 pounds per month I have been gaining equates to about 200 calories a day at my normal exercise level, we settled on a 1000 calorie a day limit, with slightly high protein, moderate low glycemic carbs, and near zero fat as a starting point. I’ll be getting into that along with the recipes I use in other posts.

Week One: Observation And Experimentation

I settled on using my ZAAZ 4 times per day, 12 minutes at a time, and doing gentle stretching and isometric exercises as a benchmark. I found that even when doing only simple stretches and running through some of the few Yoga postures I am capable of contorting myself into, I could definitely “feel the burn” at times. The machine came with a nice big chart of stretches, and I found that using them allowed me to tightly focus the majority of the vibration in selected muscle areas.

By the third day, I had not only gotten more adventurous, I got my first indications that the ZAAZ does, in some way, provide extra muscle stimulus; I was “stiff” when I woke up in the morning. Typically, before the ZAAZ, when I woke up I would be extremely stiff, and often couldn’t move comfortably for some time. Now, I am able to roll out of bed easily (something I haven’t done in literally a decade), and the “stiffness” is very like the residual effect you have the morning after a typical exercise workout in a gym or Yoga class, tightness but not pain.

I have also noted a noticeable improvement in my range of motion, and my lower back spasms have significantly decreased as well.

The Final Takeaway From Week One:

Yes, the ZAAZ has made a definite difference in the type of pain I experience, as well as pain level and inflammation level. I have noted also that my digestive system is working much better than normal, in that I haven’t had any diverticulitis, very little bloating despite a dramatic increase in fiber, and very little discomfort.

I have also noticed that my fluid output his increased in relation to my fluid intake. When I do sleep, I’m not sleeping longer than usual, but I am falling asleep more easily, and waking more rested than in the past, and ANY improvement in my severe sleep disorder is cause for celebration. When I weighed myself, I found I had lost about 2 pounds, which I am assuming is water weight.

One of the most interesting side effects from a physical standpoint was something the literature on the ZAAZ had touted as a benefit, that I had completely dismissed as hype; cellulite reduction. For those who don’t have cellulite or aren’t chicks, the degree of cellulite you have is measured against the fruit scale–minimal cellulite is typically lemon or lime peel consistency and appearance, mild is orange, moderate is grapefruit, severe is cantaloupe or cottage cheese (small, medium or large curd).

You gauge your level three ways–standing at rest and shining a flashlight at an angle along the skin looking for ripples and dimples, seated doing the same, then you pinch a few inches and squeeze lightly. A young woman or boy will show nearly perfectly smooth skin with tests one and two, and lime or lemon with the pinch. Girls typically have more cellulite in general than males of the same weight, as we have higher body fat percentages.

I was a large curd cottage cheese for one and two, and also for the pinch test. Having tried every cream, nostrum, exercise, and homemade remedy for the condition for years, I have found no permanent fix–even when I weighed 125 instead of 200, it was pretty bad as I got older. Now, after one week, I am a grapefruit in many areas of my thighs sitting and standing, and a small curd cottage cheese to cantaloupe with the pinch test. Even the worst areas show an objectively noticeable difference after a week, and the actual reduction of visible cellulite is probably around 25-30%.

I have also noticed that my overall skin appearance is “different”, but I can’t quantify how it’s different. My other half tells me I’m getting a glow :-). I have also noticed that I am removing a lot more dead skin cells with my three times weekly whole body exfoliation than in the past, and that my feet aren’t cold all the time any more either. Nor are my lower legs and feel at swollen as they had been, though I still wear my compression socks, and will continue to do so.

Week Two Plans

This week, I’m sticking with the 1000 calorie diet plan, and increasing the types of stretches and exercises I do while using the ZAAZ, and we shall see what happens. While the ZAAZ does have a “calorie counter” on board, I don’t necessarily consider it an accurate measure at this point, and so only note the numbers for comparison with any actual weight loss. In theory, the amount of food I am eating should, at this point, equal my body’s needs–which means any weight loss would derive from water weight being lost or the actual exercise value of the ZAAZ.

My plan at the moment is to keep full intake and output documentation of fluids for a week or two and see how much more output than intake I have, so I can determine how much of my weight loss, if any, is coming from exercising on the ZAAZ in the form of interstitial fluid released from my fat layer by the intense vibration, and how much is my expected output based on intake.

In theory, the ZAAZ, like any whole body vibration machine, liberates interstitial fluid built up in the fat layer and in cellulite (thus decreasing the appearance of the cellulite), and the constant micro movements of the musculoskeletal system to stay in balance burn extra calories above and beyond any calories burned in natural body functions–so even if you just stand on one and don’t move around at all, you’re supposed to lose weight. According to the calorie counter, each 12 minute session provides a base calorie usage of 75 calories, give or take a calorie or two–which would amount to that 1.2 pounds a week.

The ZAAZ is also supposed to create a synergistic effect, if you exercise while on it, so you burn more calories exercising on it than you would doing them standing still. Once I have determined how much of the weight I’m losing is pure water weight, I can begin to chart other weight loss, and figure out what is causing it.

In the meantime–2 pounds less weight, sleeping better, and the cellulite reduction is amazing! As to the chronic pain, the decrease is about 50% or more, coup-led with greater range of motion and less inflammation. So far, a resounding success.

 

 

Day 1 With The Zaaz 20k WBV

If you’d ever had to do 120 articles on losing belly fat fast (as I did), it doesn’t take long for you to start running out of obvious material LOL.

Enter “The Gadgets”–those lovely “as seen on TV” devices that promise to turn you into a “hard body” in 60 days, only 5 minutes a day, etc. Everything from vibrating belts to sauna suits, Ab “rockers”, sleds, swings, and more. While 90% of them are just gadgets, and don’t really work as advertised, you do occasionally run into working ideas.

Along the way, I of course did more than one article about the gadgets and machines “The Stars” use to stay in shape, including private trainers, 69,190.00 Swarovski crystal studded, vibration machines (I’m not kidding, folks), and other devices. And in covering what works and what doesn’t, whole body vibration, surprisingly enough, landed in the category of weight loss fads that had basis in science.

Whole Body Vibration?

Yep. A machine that rocks a platform back and forth, very fast, while you either stand, or do various exercises. According to the many studies out and about, whole body vibration does have benefits–though the weight loss is a side issue. Vibration and massage, as well as “ultrasound”, have long been staples of physical therapy, and WBV has been shown to increase bone density, circulation, aid in reducing fluid retention, and decrease pain and inflammation.

The Costco Enlightenment

So there I was at Costco, the other day, feeling my typical 4+ pain level and trying to shop, and I saw the road show for the Zaaz 20K WBV machine. I had actually done several write ups on this machine’s earlier model, the 15K, for various websites, but I had never had the chance to try one in person. So I hopped on.

The sensation is rather indescribable–not unpleasant, but slightly unsettling in some ways. I spent 6 minutes standing and stretching in different ways, noting how shifting my balance and position could concentrate the vibration in specific areas. My skin was tingling from head to toe, not unlike the tingly/almost itchy feeling you get in your legs from hard running.

After 6 minutes of standing, I enjoyed 6 minutes of siting in the specially designed chair placed on the platform. When it was over, I got up, walked about 20 feet, and promptly freaked out (in a good way). Before I used the Zaaz, I had been having back spasms, my knees were sore (as always), and I had the beginning of a migraine headache and the typical elbow, wrist, and neck pain.

All of that pain had been drastically reduced, and my headache was effectively gone. I had gone from my typical 4-5 on the pain scale to about a 2, in 12 minutes.

I immediately called my other half, who was on his annual fishing vacation in Mexico with his brother, and told him about it. HE knew I had a doctor’s appointment, so he suggested I ask my “Doc Squad” what they thought, and if they approved, buy it. Granted, this is NOT an inexpensive bargain store model–there are many WBV machines as low as 150.00. This one runs at non-Costco prices in the 4,000.00 range.

I spoke to my GP, who called the rest of my Doc Squad, and they all said essentially the same thing–the science is sound for people like me that experience restless leg syndrome, fibromyalgia, ankylosing spondilitis, arthritis, and the resulting pain. So last night, when he returned home, we went and bought it.

And Here It Is!

1zaaz-20k-full

It weighs about 86 pounds, and when disassembled, fit in the trunk and back seat of a Kia Sephia. It came with 3 different pads for the base, a “hard” pad and two different softer rubber pads, and the chair will be arriving by mail in 5-7 business days. It also comes with a DVD and a large poster of different exercise poses and stretches, and a set of resistance cords with handles and foot loops for doing resistance stretches.

I used it as soon as it was set up, and not only did I not have the typical restless legs before I went to bed, I was able to sleep without taking my restless leg medication at all. This morning, I woke up feeling rested–more so than usual–and after doing a 12 minute stretching session on the Zaaz, I am essentially at a 2 on my personal pain scale.

For the time being I intend on using this twice a day, morening and night, increasing to three times daily next week. But considering how much better I feel today than I usually do, and this is only “day 1” technically speaking, it was well worth the final 2300.00 cost in my estimation.

The Zaaz And Insurance

I self pay my medical care, but the representative for the company said that pain management doctors and rheumatologists frequently prescribe this machine for patients, and that people on Medicare and Medicaid have been reimbursed up to 65% of the out of pocket costs, and in many cases insurance covers up to 90% of the associated costs.

I will be documenting my progress with this machine weekly, here on the blog. As of this morning, I weigh a flat 200 pounds, so we’ll see if the weight loss angle has any merit. But if the pain management benefit continues as it has today and the other day in Costco, then I’ll be able to get more physically active anyway LOL.

If you have a Costco membership and you see this in your local store on a road show, I would highly recommend you take the time to try it out. I was told by the representative that had a I chosen to buy it later, by giving the company the store information and sales person’s name, I would still get the Costco discount if I ordered after the road show had left as well.